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Archive for July 2013

SHREK THE MUSICAL at Plummer Auditorium

shrekMelinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

A hero and the musical about him have been on a journey. From the book by William Steig to the Dreamworks animated film and then back to the book again, this musical has undergone multiple changes from Broadway and the national traveling production to its current successful regional incarnation by 3—D Theatricals. With book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori for the 2008 Broadway show, it is still being recrafted along its journey.
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NICKEL AND DIMED at the Hudson Theatres

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Photo by Olivier Riquelme

 

 

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In her book Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich detailed her sojourn into the world of the working poor, illuminating (as no recounting of statistics ever could) the struggle, heartache and resilience of this often forgotten and/or disrespected class of Americans. Read more…

Melinda Schupman – ArtsInLA

Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2001 book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, prompted critics, pro and con, to examine the lives of the working poor through her eyes. Well-educated and a successful writer, Ehrenreich attempted to leave her comfortable life behind to try to live on a minimum wage. As she traversed the country taking jobs as a hospital aide, a WalMart worker, a cleaner, and a waitress, she told a compelling story of the inequities faced by millions in our society who struggle to survive.  Read more…

 

Now running through August 25.

KIMBERLY AKIMBO at the Studio Stage

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Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

In David Lindsay-Abaire’s dark comedy, Kimberly (Dorrie Braun) is a teenager who suffers from progeria, a disease that causes its victims to age more than four times faster than the normal rate.  Read more…

Now running through August 11.

WRAP YOUR HEART AROUND IT at the Falcon Theatre

WRAP YOUR HEART

Photo by Chelsea Sutton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David C. Nichols – LA Times

In “Wrap Your Heart Around It,” Nashville singer-songwriter and accordionist LynnMarie Rink lays out her life lessons with abundant humor and heroic honesty. Before this stunning solo confessional has ended, we’re not only at one with Rink, we’re ready to take up the accordion ourselves.   Read more…

Now running through August 11.

A PARALLELOGRAM at the Mark Taper Forum

burkeBob Verini – ArtsInLA

If there’s a more sheerly interesting playwright in the United States these days than Bruce Norris, I don’t know who it is. In a continuing series of audacious, ambitious comedies, he has remained resolutely non-P.C. in questioning some of our culture’s most cherished assumptions on race (his Pulitzer winner Clybourne Park), compassionate liberalism (The Pain and the Itch), wounded warriors (Purple Heart), and sexual obsession (The Infidel).   Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

In Bruce Norris’ stark comedy A Parallelogram, 30-ish Bee (Marin Ireland) — a regional manager for Rite Aid, a job that’s “very fulfilling,” she quips — is in this inexorably doomed relationship with a slightly older man (Tom Irwin) whom, later in the play, the older Bee (Marylouise Burke) will refer to as “a gigantic asshole.”
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Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

An existential “comedy” in the bleakest sense, Bruce Norris’ new play A Parallelogram posits the question “What would you do if you knew your future but couldn’t do anything to change it?” and then explores the various facets of this conceit.  Read more…

Sharon Perlmutter – Talkin’ Broadway

Bad news, nerds: Bruce Norris’s A Parallelogram is not about math. Good news, though: It’s about time travel. Specifically, the play considers what happens when a woman, Bee, is visited by her future self (the unimaginatively named Bee 2), who brings some bad news about the future—both Bee’s personal future and the overall future of people on the planet.
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 Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

The Steppenwolf-bred works of fast-rising playwright Bruce Norris—notably The Pain and the Itch and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park (seen at the Mark Taper Forum last season)—have explored thought-provoking themes in inventive and provocative ways. Those familiar with these earlier works shouldn’t be surprised that Norris’ new play, A Parallelogram, thrives on unexpected twists and turns and flights of fancy. It will keep viewers on their toes to fathom its unconventional dramatic conceits and sharp segues between sly humor and cerebral reflections.
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Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Now running through August 18.

SUNSET BOULEVARD at Musical Theatre West at Carpenter Performing Arts Center

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Les Spindle – Frontiers L.A.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1993 musical adaptation of writer-director Billy Wilder’s legendary 1950 film classic Sunset Boulevard is perhaps as well known for its behind the scenes melodrama as its Gothic-flavored narrative about faded Hollywood glamour and unrequited love.

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Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

It’s no wonder that “Sunset Boulevard” received an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1950, nor that it has become an American film classic. People marvel at the continuing resonance of this black and white “film noir” that starred Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond (the grand dame of the silent screen) and William Holden as Joe Gillis (a young struggling screen-writer).
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HEART SONG at the Fountain Theatre

Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

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…..Stephen SachsHeart Song, which just opened at the Fountain Theatre, also looks at the capacities of art to overcome the seeming finality of death.  Act One is as literal — with explanations about the purpose of art that border on the tendentious — as A Fried Octopus is abstract. Act Two, however, becomes a different play from Act One, and a better one. Read more…

Now running through August 25.

LEND ME A TENOR at the Westchester Playhouse

tenor

Photo by Shari Barrett

How might you know a play is a farce? Normally, the set offers a clue, and in particular the set will include several doors that allow characters to barrel into situations and then quickly escape the consequences. This production of Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor boasts six doors. Hilarity, you can be sure, ensues.
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Now running through August 17.

PACK UP THE MOON at the Lounge Theatre

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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Directed by Amy K. Harmon, this not-ready-for-prime-time production concerns a married gay couple, Andre (David Jette) and Carter (Brad Harris), whose relationship sours following the death of their adopted infant son. Read more…

CEREMONY at the Asylum Lab

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Neal Weaver

In writer-performer Michael Kass’ solo show, Ceremony, he depicts himself as a pathetic, all-around loser, until a bizarre series of encounters seems to be telling him that he must try the Peruvian drug ayahuasca.
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Now running through July 26.

BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON at the Chance Theater

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David C. Nichols – LA Times

Old Hickory gets a charge of anarchistic electricity in “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” at the Chance Theater in Anaheim Hills. This sublimely raucous take on Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman’s savage emo rock evisceration of American politics via the seventh president of the United States is an in-your-face triumph.
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Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

A number of successful musicals have interpreted history in the light of politics. Audiences have been entertained, as musicals from Ragtime to Annie to Wicked examine societal issues. In this case, populism takes center stage as Andrew Jackson’s life unfolds from youth to the presidency and the rise of the Democratic party. It’s an exhilarating ride.
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Now running through August 4.

ALCESTIS at The Theatre @ Boston Court

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Photo by Ed Krieger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Verini – ArtsInLA

Director-writer Nancy Keystone doesn’t exactly crank ‘em out quickly through her Critical Mass Performance Group, but they sure are worth the waiting for. Her 2006 Theatre @ Boston Court staging of Suzan-Lori Parks’s The America Play made keen sense out of that peculiarly remote text, and now, with Alcestis, Keystone and her team have created a completely involving, scintillating take on Euripides for our time.
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David C. Nichols – LA Times

The ancient Greek myth about Alcestis and her self-sacrifice for her spouse has seen countless versions over the centuries, from Euripides and John Milton to Handel, Gluck and Thornton Wilder. It receives a tart postmodern spin in “Alcestis” at Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena.   Read more…

 

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

The world of shadows also informs Alcestis, a new work based on Euripides‘ play, presented by Critical Mass Performance Group and Theatre @ Boston Court. This world premiere was developed last year in a laboratory at the Getty Center, and its theatrical examination of the intersection of death and marriage is among the highlights of the current local season.  Read more…

Now running through July 28.